Thursday, February 26, 2009

Venus and the Moon over the next few days

On the way home from work today I saw the most stunningly tiny crescent Moon I have ever seen. It was partly obscured by clouds, which added to the beauty, tinting it a deep orange. When I saw it, perhaps around 6:15 PM, the horns appeared to be pointing directly up, or nearly so, suggesting it was very nearly directly positioned above the Sun. (I am far more used to seeing the Moon south of the Sun - to the left of the Sun in the evening, to the right of it in the morning.)

If you have noticed that intensely bright beacon in the western sky just after sunset, then you already know where to look to see the planet Venus. Over the next few nights the Moon will be in the same general neighborhood.

Phil Plait did a post alerting readers to the "Beauty Without Borders" project, which invites people to join in observing the Moon and Venus over the next few days. This is something anyone - well, almost anyone - can participate in, regardless of how light-polluted their skies are. Venus and the Moon are that bright. Even partly cloudy skies should not make viewing impossible, though there's a limit to how much cloud cover the two brightest objects in the night sky can penetrate. Get photos if you can, and share them with the world!

Venus, the Moon, and a neighbor's house,
viewed from the bow window of my mom's house
at 8:12 PM Tuesday, March 20, 2007.
From the Beauty Without Borders website:

An Evening With Venus
Join this event from anywhere in the world, even if you are going to watch from your deck or backyard. Use binoculars if you haven't got a telescope.

Already 16 countries has got together to enjoy the beautiful views of Venus.
Start Time: February 25, 2009 at 7:00pm
End Time: Sunday, March 1, 2009 at 9:00pm
Location: Global - Everywhere, Your street or your event street, you choose.
Venus event;

The crescent Venus meets the new Moon, will be an awesome spectacle, seen and shared locally and globally. “On the evening of Feb. 28, the crescent moon will pass near Venus and will create a beautiful sight for sky watchers.”

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